Laundry 101: How To Wash Lace, Sequins, and Velvet

Sequins, jewels and delicate lace all look to-die-for when you’re donning them. It’s taking them off and cleaning them that can be problematic. 

If you’re like me, you’re practically terrified. What if the fabric rips? The jewels aren’t as jazzy? And while the girl next to you may not notice those three sequins missing from your blazer, you sure do and it’s going to bother you ALL NIGHT LONG.

Short of deciding never to wash or dry clean our delicates again (I know, gross), we decided to get the answers to our burning laundry questions from Mary Marlowe Leverette of About.com's Guide to Laundry.

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Shining Star: Glittery and embellished fabrics are perfect for the holidays, but they can be extra tricky to clean.

  • If the problem is just one dropped hors d'oeurve stain, try spot-cleaning. Use a cotton swab dipped in a stain remover mixed with water. Carefully work from the edges of the stain toward the middle, and use a clean white cloth to absorb as much of the stain as possible.

  • If it is a large or oily stain, head to the dry cleaner stat!

  • If the care label says dry clean only, believe what you've read and take it to a dry cleaner.

  • If the garment says it can be washed, choose hand-washing in tepid water with a mild detergent. Turn it inside out and use as little agitation as possible. Never wring it tightly, squeeze out the rinse water instead.

  • Always dry embellished garments flat to avoid as much damage and stretching as possible.

  • If the garment has ribbons, the best bet is to remove them before washing and then tack them back on when everything is nice and clean.

Velveteen Queen: Velvet fabric can be woven from silk, nylon, acetate or rayon fibers, while velveteen is made from cotton fibers.

  • For best results, velvet should always be dry-cleaned.

  • To freshen the pile and remove creases, steam can be used on the wrong side of the fabric. Never iron velvet. Ironing will crush the fibers and leave a near-permanent imprint.

  • For very light wrinkles, hang the garment in a steamy bathroom.

  • For deeper wrinkles, a hand steamer works well as does holding the garment over a pot of boiling water.

  • In any case, never allow the garment to become overly wet. Allow the velvet to dry completely before wearing.

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Lacy Lady: Lace can be made by hand or by machine, of cotton,linen or synthetic fibers.  

  • Unless dry cleaning is recommended, due to the lining or the structure of the garment,all lace should be hand washed using cool water and a mild detergent.

  • For lace clothes, button and zip completely to avoid snags that can tear the lace netting.

  • Avoid vigorous scrubbing which will distort the fibers. Rinse well and do not wring to remove water, gently squeeze.

  • Lace should be air dried or dried flat, never in the dryer.  

  • If ironing is needed, place a thick white towel over the ironing board and use a press cloth between the iron and the lace. This will prevent crushing the details of the lace and prevent snags that can rip or tear.

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